Blacks and Jews: Are They Really “Sworn Enemies”?

Blacks and Jews: Are They Really
“Sworn Enemies”?

30 minutes

In June of 1991 curators from The Jewish Museum in New York City invited me and my students to produce a video in conjunction with an exhibit they would open in early 1992 entitled Bridges and Boundaries, African Americans and American Jews. The exhibit would examine the relationship of African Americans and American Jews in the 20th Century.

In August 1991, just before my students at EVC would begin working on the video, violence broke out between Blacks and Hasidic Jews in Crown Heights, Brooklyn.  Suddenly, my students, some of whom lived in Crown Heights, were not only investigating an historical topic, but a story that was unfolding around them.

In the process of making Blacks and Jews: Are They Really “Sworn Enemies?” students interviewed members of the African American and Hasidic communities of Crown Heights. An interview they conducted with a black WWII veteran whose unit helped liberate Buchenwald Concentration Camp gave them powerful historical context to consider.


  • Finalist, Birmingham International Educational Film Festival, 1992
  • Silver Apple, National Educational Film and Video Festival, 1992
  • Honorable Mention, 17th Annual Atlanta Film & Video Festival, Best Social Critique, 1992

Full version available from Educational Video Center.